Exclusive: Man who sued city for including him in “gang database” killed his neighbor last week, prosecutors say

One of four men who sued the city of Chicago for including them in the police department’s gang database murdered his next-door neighbor last week by shooting the victim at point-blank range in the forehead as he returned home from work, prosecutors say.

“I put my sweat in this city, I put my sweat in this country. I believe I’m a law abiding citizen. I’ve never committed nothing wrong,” Luis Pedrote-Salinas told assembled media outlets in July 2017 as he announced his lawsuit against the city, then-CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, and others.

Luis Pedrote-Salinas speaking to the media after filing his 2017 lawsuit and the CPD mug shot taken after his arrest on murder charges. | CPD; MacArthur Justice Center

Pedrote was added to the police department’s massive list of purported gang members after cops saw a can of Bud Light in his car during a traffic stop and then discovered that he had a tattoo that some Latin King gang members wear, he said at the time. In fact, Pedrote claimed, he simply liked the tattoo’s design.

He was 26-years-old and faced deportation at the time of the suit, according to lawyers at the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University, who filed the action on his behalf.

The lawsuit was settled late last year in exchange for $2,000 and a letter from CPD saying it cannot verify that Pedrote “is currently a ‘gang member’” as defined by state law, according to a preliminary settlement agreement filed in federal court.

On Sunday, prosecutors accused Pedrote of being a cold-blooded killer.

According to the allegations, 41-year-old Comcast contractor Francisco Zamora arrived home from work and parked his work truck behind his family’s home in the 6000 block of South Artesian around 4:22 p.m.

Zamora was preparing to walk into the house when Pedrote walked up and shot him in the forehead at close range, prosecutors said. The bullet flew out the back of Zamora’s head.

Pedrote held the gun so close to Zamora’s head that stippling — gunpowder and debris discharged by the firearm — was visible around the entrance wound, according to prosecutors.

Zamora’s wife and daughter found his body in the alley. His son looked out of the house in time to see a man who resembled his neighbor, Pedrote, leaving the scene, prosecutors said.

Detectives were interviewing Zamora’s wife at her home on Friday evening when they saw Pedrote walk out of a neighboring home with a gun in his waistband, prosecutors said. Cops stopped him, but not before Pedrote allegedly injured three of the officers by resisting.

According to prosecutors, cops found Pedrote’s passport, a phone, two duffle bags of clothing and toiletries, and a half-ounce of cocaine in his car.

Laboratory analysis confirmed that a shell casing found next to Zamora’s body came from the gun Pedrote had in his waistband, the state alleged.

Prosecutors charged Pedrote with first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, manufacture-delivery of a controlled substance, and felony resisting of police

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered him held without bail.

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About CWBChicago 6568 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com